John William Hanstock was a Nottinghamshire miner who served in the army during the war. He was wounded by an exploding shell in France in July 1916. The wound became gangrenous because of gas from the shell and he was repatriated to England. He was brought to Chelmsford for medical treatment but died at Chelmsford & Essex Hospital the day he arrived there. His body was taken back home to Shirebrook for burial.

John was born late in 1890 in Carlton, Nottinghamshire, the son of William Hanstock (1855-1931) and Louisa Blades (1865-1936).

The 1891 census recorded three month-old John living with his parents and two older siblings at Carlton where his father was a coal miner. John was found by the 1901 census, aged ten, with his parents and three siblings still at Carlton where his father was coal miner (hewer). In 1911, the final census before the war, listed 20 year-old John with his parents and two siblings at 20 Recreation Drive in Shirebrook, Derbyshire. By then John had joined his father as a miner, working as an underground road layer.

During the First World War John served as Private 5006 in 62 Company, Machine Gun Corps. In July 1916 John was wounded in France by an exploding shell. His wound became gangrenous from poison gas from the shell. He was repatriated to England and on the morning of Saturday 22nd July 1916 he was one of a group of soldiers who arrived by train at Chelmsford for medical treatment.


Private, 62 Company, Machine Gun Corps

The town's Voluntary Aid Detachment, commanded by Captain W. G. Wenley, accompanied by Mr. T. Bellamy pharmacist, received a sudden call prepared detrain the soldiers straight from the dressing stations in France. Despite the hour and shortage of motor ambulances, the wounded were expeditiously conveyed to the Red Cross Hospital in New London Road, where everything had been readied for their reception. All were cot cases, and the most serious received far Chelmsford.

Despite the medical attention John died in the afternoon of the same day. His was the first death at the Hospital where 505 cases had been dealt with. Locally John was reported to be aged 24, but was recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as aged 25.

On Monday 24th July 1916 his body was conveyed home to Shirebrook, Derbyshire by rail. Convalescent wounded soldiers from the Hospital carried the coffin, covered with the Union Jack, to the gun carriage, and accompanied it to the railway station, while the band arid pipers of the 7th Royal Scots stationed at Widford led the procession playing suitable music. The soldiers and the Hospital staff sent wreaths.

Today John rests in Shirebrook Cemetery (grave B. N.C. 5774).